Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144: Taking Flight

Flight means different things to different people, and it can signify many modes of travel.  But it’s always travel.  Both my husband and I worked in the aerospace industry, before we lost our jobs to the government shutdowns last year.  He worked for “big airframer company” for 40 years.  When a brand new model was introduced in 2007 (first flight not for a couple of years), we were invited to the “rollout” ceremony at the factory.

Ray Kujawa, 787 Engineer at Rollout 7-7-2007
My husband, Ray, who helped engineer the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, at the official rollout in Everett, WA

In flight, that airplane is quite beautiful.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a real photo of one in the air.

In the Harry Potter series, the head of the pure-blood Weasley Family, Arthur Weasley, just loves all things Muggle (non-magic people), and collects various Muggle artifacts as a hobby.  His fondest wish, which we discover in the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is “to find out how airplanes stay up”.

We have flown in airplanes a few times, but we are not frequent fliers.  I love sitting by the window of the plane, so I can take pictures of the clouds, or of the ground when there are no clouds.  This is what I saw below the plane, on one of our recent flights.  Mount Rainier.

Mt. Rainier


And the Rocky Mountains.

On the way to Michigan in 2010, we stopped at the Air Force Museum in South Dakota.  How about two kinds of  flyers, one on another!  I got some great pictures of this pair of House Finches, perched on the wing of one of the warplanes parked outside the museum building.


On our cruise to Hawaii in 2018, I kept my eye out for exotic birds that I may not have seen before.  Before we had even left port in San Francisco, I was rewarded by the sight of these Brown Pelicans, flying in perfect formation just above the water.


Totally off the subject, I was surprised at how dirty the water is in San Francisco Bay.  From the air, it really looks muddy.

Once we got to Hawaii, we saw many species that we don’t have here on the mainland.  Like this Common Mynah, strutting his stuff across the lawn at Pearl Harbor.


And a Brazilian Cardinal.

Brazilian Cardinal

My best, and rarest, “catch” was on the way home, just outside of Ensenada, Mexico.  I got a photo of a very rare sea-bird, the Masked Booby.  These birds spend all their time at sea, and are seldom spotted. I was lucky to see him, when I went for a walk around the deck early in the morning.

Masked Booby

When at home, my camera is always at hand, to “capture” the birds that frequent our back yard feeders.  The past year has been excellent for bird-watching.  Thanks to my trusty iPhone, I have been able to get great still shots, and also some video.  In this one, you see Black-capped Chickadees, Juncos, and Common Bushtits.

Our Townsend’s Warbler stuck around all winter, and was always fun to watch.


I’m also quite fond of our Pine Siskins, which like both the seeds and the suet we put out.


And the perky little Red-breasted Nuthatch was a frequent visitor.  In fact, I just saw him today, climbing all over the hot-pepper suet feeder.  This picture is from February.


One of my very favorites is the Varied Thrush.  We have a pair who visit often.  They are carnivores, so they peck the ground looking for insects and worms, and they love the hot-pepper suet.  They discovered that they are too heavy for the feeder, so they hop from the ground to the bottom of the feeder, getting in a peck or two before falling back to the ground.  This was so much fun to watch!  You can see the thrush taking turns at the suet, with a female Junco.  I called it “playing hummingbird”.

We also had a visit from our Red-shafted Flicker.  They are grateful for the “tail-rest” on the regular suet feeder.



Last, but not least, back in 2012, when we flew to New Jersey for my husband’s church 125th -anniversary, we took a drive down to the Jersey Shore.  We walked out on the beach at Cape May, and saw this huge mixed flock of seabirds.  There were Skimmers, gulls, and Terns.  We watched the terns fishing on the wing, dipping their beaks in the water, and coming up with a wriggling fish.  They weren’t successful every time, but often.

Skimmers at Cape May
Skimmers at Cape May, NJ, October 23, 2012

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6 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144: Taking Flight

  1. Wow RB as my granddaughter would say, that’s alotta birds!! Amazing that you know them all by name. The red-shafted flicker is quite beautiful. Almost looks like a woodpecker. We have a huge Boeing plant right next to our Charleston airport and we always see the new planes ready for delivery to the various airlines. It will be nice to be able to get back in the air before long.

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